Welcome, Coal Hill students! The series pilot of Class gave us monsters worthy of the Whoniverse, not to mention The Doctor himself. I was pleasantly surprised with this series. There were unexpected twists and turns. A terrifying shadow monster. Amputated legs! Of course, seeing The Doctor in the throes of chaos and doom is always a welcome sight. Shall we dive right in? Friendly reminder that spoilers travel as fast as the Shadow Kin, so be on the lookout.
We open with Coal Hill Academy, appearing to be mostly deserted. A monster is terrorizing the corridors, attempting to find its prey. A blonde woman, Miss Quill (Katherine Kelly) and a student (Alex Leak) are sequestered away in the corner of a classroom. They are both in a panic. Suddenly, when all seems quiet, a shadow slips under the door and takes form, revealing a shadow-like soldier. Then, we are outside the classroom when a resounding shot fires, a scream…and then silence. We’re now in a corridor where a tear appears in the fabric of space, opening to reveal a foreign planet. A shadow launches itself out of said tear. Oh shit. Things are already taking a turn…
Later, we’re in the present. A slew of students are starting their school day. We see loner Charlie (Greg Austin) running into jock Ram (Fady Elsayed). Smart girl Tanya (Vivian Oparah) strolls past. Little do they know the future that awaits them! I’m going to dub them the Coal Hill Monster Squad (or CHMS for short). Everything appears to be normal.
Meanwhile, Tanya meets up with April (Sophie Hopkins), who is trying to recruit the former to her prom decorating team. As of right now, it’s just April. She seems to be making a big deal about not having a date. Just go have fun with your friends! Boys are icky, anyway. She is unsuccessful in getting Tanya to join Team Prom Decorator. April decides to ask the cute loner Charlie to prom. After April leaves, Tanya glimpses an unusual looking shadow on the floor. Uh oh. It’s starting again.
Then, Mr. Armitage (Nigel Betts), who appears to be the principal, asks Miss Quill to chaperone at prom. However, Miss Quill actually hates children and could probably think of nothing worse than babysitting them. Perfect qualities in an educator, am I right?
Later, we see April awkwardly ask Charlie to be her prom date. He laughs it off and promptly turns her down. Well, that was rude.
Meanwhile, our quartet is finally united in Miss Quill’s classroom. Their fearless teacher has provided them with a strange equation, one that appears impossible to solve. Boo! I’ve always hated math myself. We see Charlie eyeing another blonde boy, so we can rest assured that he had a perfectly acceptable reason for turning down April. Speaking of which…
Later, April is outside handing out fliers to prom. A prom that happens to occur the next day. Little late on the flier game, April. Anyway, Charlie walks up to her and asks her questions about prom. Does everyone have to have a date? He reveals he’s going to ask Matteusz (Jordan Renzo), the other blonde boy from Miss Quill’s class. April breathes a sigh of relief. Charlie bats for the other team! Always comforting when faced with rejection.
Meanwhile, Ram is engrossed in a game of soccer (football for those of you across the pond). His father (Aaron Neil) and girlfriend Rachel (Anna Shaffer) are watching him. Ram goes to kick the ball into the goal but misses after spotting a roaming shadow. Those blasted shadows are everywhere now.
Then, we see Tanya walking home from school. She too notices a shadow, but this time it’s much larger and begins to chase her. Well, that’s a new development. She darts inside a convenience store, where thankfully the shadow ceases to follow her.
Later, Charlie arrives home. Now, here’s a fun twist: he arrives to a home with Miss Quill. Maybe she’s his sister or mother? Aunt? So many questions!
Meanwhile, Tanya is finally home after a day of being chased by a frightening shadow. She mentions prom to her mother, who immediately dismisses the idea. We discover that Tanya may be in the correct grade to attend prom, but she’s actually a few years younger. She is incredibly intelligent and was able to skip ahead. You go girl! Anyway, mom says schoolwork comes first, then play. But, mom, all work and no play makes Jane a very dull girl…
Then, Charlie asks a rather sullen Miss Quill if she killed Kevin, the student we saw her with in the beginning of the episode. He mentions the burn marks on the floor appear to be from her gun. Miss Quill responds that she’s not allowed to use her gun. We see a brief flashback where she hands Kevin her gun. Said gun launches a set of tentacles that wrap around Kevin’s wrists. He fires the weapon, which immediately incinerates him on the spot. So yes, I believe it’s safe to say she did kill that student. Miss Quill brushes it off, saying she will protect Charlie as promised but he must not question her actions. She’s a strange one.
Meanwhile, April starts her decorating spree…alone. No one, in all of Coal Hill, cares about how nice their prom looks? Poor April. She sets down a large banner and gets to work.
Later, Ram and Tanya are Skyping. She is giving him test answers, because that’s what you do when you have smart friends – you use them for their intellect. Anyway, Ram sees a shadow starting to form behind Tanya, one that isn’t her own. Meanwhile, April is in the midst of writing her banner when a shadow traps her hand. She struggles to break free from it. Tanya arms herself with a lamp – you know, fight the shadow with a light source. Smart girl!
Then, April finally is able to break free. She notices that Miss Quill is standing behind her, armed with a gun. Our favorite Physics teacher tells April they are in danger. Tanya continues to fight the shadow monster, which temporarily dissolves whenever the light hits it, then reforms immediately thereafter. Miss Quill taunts the shadows, telling them she is what waits for them, that she is “war itself.” I already love her. Badass. Then, she pulls a phrase from our Doctor and tells April to run.
Meanwhile, Tanya is struggling to vanquish her shadow. We see it brandish two swords. Shadows with weapons? It was already bad enough when they were simply lurking. Back in Coal Hill, Miss Quill reveals as they run down the corridor that only April can use her gun. Tanya slips and falls, as the shadow lifts one of its blades. Oh shit. Meanwhile, Miss Quill yells at April to shoot the shadow monster before them. She fires the gun, but Charlie knocks her aside as the bullet flies askance.
Then, we see Tanya laying on the floor waiting for death, but the monster is nowhere to be seen. Her mom barges in, demanding to know what the noises were about. How did I not notice those amazing Sailor Moon posters on Tanya’s walls? I’m in love. She might be my new favorite.
Meanwhile, Charlie is cradling an injured April. She rises unsteadily to her feet, as does the shadow monster. We discover he’s called a Shadow Kin, and Miss Quill’s gun is the only weapon in the universe that can kill it. Miss Quill scans April’s body as well as the Shadow Kin. She reveals that both April and our newest nightmare share the same heart now, since the blast was defective. Apparently, the blast from that gun is supposed to incinerate both shooter and Shadow Kin. Basically, survival chances are at zero. Well, since killing the Shadow Kin also means killing April, Charlie refuses to do it, despite Miss Quill’s demands. The Shadow Kin disappears, promising to return. Miss Quill calls someone, telling them they have a problem. I wonder who…
Later, the trio are inside the gym, keeping watch for more of the Shadow Kin. Charlie reveals he is from another planet, as is Miss Quill. Wow, that literally explains everything. Not only is Charlie an alien, but he’s a Prince alien. He tells April he is from the planet Rhodia, and his people were at war with the Quill. Miss Quill was the leader of the Quill resistance of sorts. The Rhodia were successful in the war, enslaving the Quill to work as their indentured servants. Miss Quill is technically Charlie’s servant. One fateful day, the Shadow Kin slaughtered everyone, including Charlie’s Queen Mother. The Doctor appeared and rescued Charlie and Miss Quill. Of course he did.
Then, Charlie and Miss Quill reveal they believe the Shadow Kin are after them specifically, unfinished business and whatnot. Miss Quill is insistent on running; however, Charlie wishes to stay. Suddenly, April falls down, engrossed in a vision of sorts. We see the fiery, shadowy planet of the Shadow Kin, with their leader Corakinus (Paul Marc Davis) standing in the forefront. April can hear his thoughts. She divulges that he wants Charlie. Everyone wants you when you’re a prince.
The next day, April tells Tanya and Ram to be wary of what happens at the prom that night – more specifically, the shadows. Since these two were also exposed to the Shadow Kin, they didn’t think April deserved to be locked in a mental hospital.
Later, we see our gang getting gussied up for the big night. Charlie goes to pick up Matteusz, who thinks the former is a bit touched but also adorable (your date is an alien, dude!). They smooch, and I feel like life is okay again.
Then, it’s dancin’ time! Our quartet arrives at the prom looking suave. Charlie and Matteusz dance with April, who is dateless. Tanya arrives, much to everyone’s surprise. She convinces her mother she was attending prom as part of a school project. Her mother consented to it so long as Tanya produces a paper on said project. Prom night analysis. I would totally write that paper.
Meanwhile, April starts seizing, no doubt consumed by visions from her Shadow Kin heart buddy. She reveals the Shadow Kin are opening the tear. Uh oh. Corakinus did say he would be back.
Then, we see Ram and Rachel roaming the halls. Suddenly, a Shadow Kin impales Rachel with his brandished sword and she incinerates on the spot. Ram, covered in her blood, launches into attack mode. This is horrifying. We see April ask, in a deep, eerie voice, where the Prince is. Corikanus is searching for Charlie. Ram lies and says he is the Prince, so he continues to fight the Shadow Kin. The gang bursts from the gym to see Ram fighting, and a horde of Shadow Kin marching toward them from the other end of the corridor. Charlie immediately begins blasting at the horde with Miss Quill’s gun, while April, Tanya and Matteusz run inside the gym to warn everybody.
Meanwhile, nobody seems to be listening to the trio as they warn the prom goers of the imminent danger. Not until Charlie bursts in guns blazing, followed by the mob of Shadow Kin. Seeing is believing, I guess. And you only have two proms in this life (unless you’re held back).
Later, Ram and the Shadow Kin are mid fight when the foe amputates Ram’s leg at the knee with his blade. His damn leg! Man, this poor guy has lost his girlfriend and his leg in a matter of minutes. I would make the school pay for my therapy and hospital costs. Prom sucks.
Meanwhile, Miss Quill tries to persuade Charlie to kill Corakinus. Of course, he kills the Shadow Kin and April also dies. Corakinus knocks April aside. Charlie, in his haste to help his friend, drops the gun. Said gun is smashed under Corakinus’ boot. Well, there goes their only weapon. Everyone stands around, unsure of what will happen next. Corakinus brandishes his double swords. This won’t end well.
Suddenly, a familiar voice rings loud and clear. We see The Doctor (Peter Capaldi) appear! My heart is simply aflutter. I never realized how much I missed my Doctor until this moment. He swoops in to a chorus of “Who?” from all the students questioning who he is. The joke is perfect, and a new play on “Doctor Who.” Corakinus asks The Doctor why he is here and he responds that his friends called for him. Miss Quill called The Doctor earlier. The Doctor questions the Shadow Kin’s attack methods, saying they usually invade in secrecy, not out in the open. Corakinus asks Charlie about the Cabinet of Souls – a repository for the Rhodian dead, but also a powerful weapon. Charlie reveals the myths surrounding the Cabinet are just that – myths. It’s completely empty.
Then, seeing the Shadow Kin are resolute in staying, April grabs a piece of metal and aims it at her chest. She says she will make them leave, since Corakinus obviously doesn’t want to die. I like her spunk. This prompts The Doctor to scan both April and Corakinus with his updated sonic screwdriver, wherein he discovers they both share a heart. But he gets to have two? That seems unfair.
Meanwhile, The Doctor is about to reveal the one true weakness of the Shadow Kin when the light bulb goes off in Tanya’s head, spurring her to turn on all the lights. Light vanquishes darkness, that sort of thing. Unfortunately, this doesn’t work. The Doctor reveals she was on the right path. He aids her by shooting his sonic screwdriver into the lights to amp up the voltage. The increased brightness does eventually force the Shadow Kin to dissipate, but not without saying they would return. Especially since April’s heart is still linked to Corakinus.
Charlie refuses to let them go without freeing April, though. They chase after the fleeing Shadow Kin, who all escape through the tear but Corakinus, who grabs April and threatens to take her with him. The Doctor points his sonic, but that seems to do nothing. Suddenly, Ram joins the action, telling April to duck as he swings a chair at Corakinus, knocking him through the tear. The Doctor uses his sonic to mend the tear as best he can. Ram faints, presumably from all the blood he lost from his amputated leg.
Later, the gang waits around the TARDIS as The Doctor tends to his patient, Ram. He comes out after a bit. Charlie points out how the Time Lord couldn’t close the tear all the way. The Doctor says that there’s been so much energy in Coal Hill that time itself has worn thin. So, all sorts of creatures from all of time and space will be drawn to the school. He believes the gang could handle them, though. Our Doctor gives the students an assignment: continue to fight the baddies under the supervision of Miss Quill. She protests, saying they are merely children, but The Doctor points out her crime – the one where she essentially killed a student. Miss Quill must face the consequences.
Miss Quill insists The Doctor deposit her and Charlie elsewhere. The Doctor responds that Time has seen their faces, and Time never forgets. He notices a board filled with teachers’ names. One particular name catches his eye – “Oswald, C.” This is the part where I blubber like a baby. I will never be okay with The Doctor forgetting Clara.
Suddenly, Ram exits the TARDIS with a brand spankin’ new prosthetic leg. The Doctor apparently has legs of all different kinds laying about the medical bay, as you do when you’re thousands of years old. He gives our crew a pep talk, saying they can handle anything Time throws at them. And with that, our Doctor disappears in his TARDIS, off to save someone else.
Then, we see everyone return home from the craziest prom in existence (probably). April tells Charlie that the positive side to sharing a heart with a shadow alien is that she’ll be privy to when the Shadow Kin plan to return. Always look on the bright side of life, y’all.
Later, Charlie is in his room, staring at the Cabinet of Souls looming before him. He opens it. We see that he lied to Corakinus – there are a multitude of souls hidden within the Cabinet. Well, damn.
Guys, I’m impressed. I was worried it might be on the milder side compared to Doctor Who but I think it’s actually more graphic than its sister show. The Doctor appearance was perfect. I love that we have two aliens as main cast members – also something I wasn’t expecting. I’m looking forward to exploring Charlie and Miss Quill’s history, as well as their exploration of human culture. Do you think Charlie will use the Cabinet of Souls to revive his fallen people? Will we see the Shadow Kin again? Could the monsters from Doctor Who crossover to Class? I’d like to see our gang fight against the Cybermen. Regardless, I’m on board. I hope you are, too. Until next week!
Class airs Saturdays at 10pm on your BBC America affiliate.